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Thread: Bench form

  1. #1
    SFW! drew's Avatar
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    Bench form

    I'm always trying to improve my bench, since it is my worst lift. I've been working on getting my form correct. Right now I set up at the end of the bench, grip the bar underhanded and pull my feet all the way back. Then pull myself under the bar without moving my feet and get my arch. Land my hips onto the bench and drive my traps in. Then I turn my hands to get my grip and pull my hands outward. Then take a breath, tighten up and go.

    Do most of you bench with feet flat on the ground or on your toes? I try to get as wide as possible and as far back as possible while keeping my feet flat. Would I get more advantage by banching off my toes (which would allow me to bring my feet further back)?

    Am I missing anything else in my set up?

    Stats: Age: 34 Weight: 205 Height: 5'6"
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  2. #2
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    Go read up on Metal Militia's site. They've got articles to cover about every aspect of benching.
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    Senior Member KevinStarke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drew
    I'm always trying to improve my bench, since it is my worst lift. I've been working on getting my form correct. Right now I set up at the end of the bench, grip the bar underhanded and pull my feet all the way back. Then pull myself under the bar without moving my feet and get my arch. Land my hips onto the bench and drive my traps in. Then I turn my hands to get my grip and pull my hands outward. Then take a breath, tighten up and go.

    Do most of you bench with feet flat on the ground or on your toes? I try to get as wide as possible and as far back as possible while keeping my feet flat. Would I get more advantage by banching off my toes (which would allow me to bring my feet further back)?

    Am I missing anything else in my set up?
    Your setup sounds good to me man. Thats how I set up except I go on my toes for the leg drive, I like the feeling of that better than going flat footed completely.

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    Senior Member jtteg_x's Avatar
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    Senior Member KevinStarke's Avatar
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    Thats for bodybuilding man drew powerlifts.

  6. #6
    Wannabebig Member
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    Good link, ive learnt from that, from that it would appear im not lifting optimally.

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    that vid is full of crap. the correct bench form is whatever lets you move the most weight, not what puts more mass on your chest. bench is NOT a chest exercise its a COMPOUND LIFT for triceps/chest/lats/delts. bb'ers bench with variations in grip to emphasize specific areas but that isnt the ONLY correct form, its a variation.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Here are some links to articles by Sebastian Burns, Dave Tate, and Louie Simmons: http://johnnymnemonic.proboards44.co...ead=1118000370

  9. #9
    I drink your milkshake twm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack_of_all
    that vid is full of crap. the correct bench form is whatever lets you move the most weight, not what puts more mass on your chest. bench is NOT a chest exercise its a COMPOUND LIFT for triceps/chest/lats/delts. bb'ers bench with variations in grip to emphasize specific areas but that isnt the ONLY correct form, its a variation.
    I don't know about you, but I'd rather have benching focus on my chest than shoulders making the form suggested the form desired for gaining size and strength in the chest.

  10. #10
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  11. #11
    Breaker of Skulls Guido's Avatar
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    I bench with my toes on the floor. Helps to maximize my arch. I also keep shoulder blades tightly together and try to use my lats on the initial push off the chest. I'm no bench master but that's what other members of my PL team do and many of them are 500+ benchers. It's really up to the individual, though, when it comes down to it. It seems that many people have their own style that works well for them, so whatever is most comfortable and lets you push the most weight.
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    Senior Member jtteg_x's Avatar
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    i would have to say the video shows the techniques of bodybuilding rather than powerlifting forms. i can understand for those whom powerlift have there own variations.


    drew, if your about pl, im sure you can find better forms than the link posted. but the link posted has very good informative info imo. give it a try at least

  13. #13
    SFW! drew's Avatar
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    jtteg x, thanks for the link, but those are things I'm well aware of. I'm looking for tips on competitive powerlifting form. I appreciate your effort to help though.

    Node, twm, capn - there's a reason I posted this question in the "powerlifting" forum.

    Powerman and Sensei, thanks for the info, I'll do more research.

    Thanks to the rest of you for the tips. I got to bench alongside a mirror last night so I could get a look at my set up. My arch is much better than I thought it was. I'm getting a good 4 inches off the bench. I still haven't decided if toes or flat feet is better for me. But will probably be off the toes because of my height. Either way, I popped another PR last night. Still not huge, but Rome wasn't built in a day (they were union, I think).

    Thanks again.

    Stats: Age: 34 Weight: 205 Height: 5'6"
    Gym PRs: Squat:635 Bench:560 Deadlift:495
    Meet PRs: Squat:575 Bench:525 Deadlift:510 Total: 1605@220

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    Back in business WBBIRL's Avatar
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    Good job on the PR, I notice that I always bench with my feet flat on the ground and my back is never arched???? It seems like the arch is something that happens when your trying to move an ammount that is heavy to you, but I think it would be hard for me to arch even if I purposely tried to.

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    Senior Member b_sinning's Avatar
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    I don't do a back arch.
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  16. #16
    I drink your milkshake twm's Avatar
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    when I pull my shoulders back (as I always do in prep for liftoff), it forces my back to arch. I feel like I have a lot more stability than if I just liftoff with a flat back. i also keep my feet flat and at a wide stance.

  17. #17
    Senior Member debussy's Avatar
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    I noticed it's easier for me to keep a good arch if I just keep my toes on the floor. However, if I keep my feet flat I get a lot better leg drive. I've tried going with a wide stance... but that doesn't feel too great. I just go with a moderate stance.

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    A guy who wrote regular articles in Powerlifting USA -- I forget his name, Larry (Miller?) -- had some pretty good descriptions of how he & others used bench form. I'm pretty sure they always had feet flat on the ground, especially since that's how you have to do it in competition anyway. Larry described either himself or some Japanese lifter who had an awesome arch, but with the butt & shoulders still in contact with the bench. I find this is very hard to do -- when I arch, my butt automatically comes off. I think it either takes a snake-sinewy bodytype, or lots of practice, to perfect a legal powerlifting arch. However, it's obvious that if you can do it, you will technically lift more -- since the bar travels less distance from extension to upraised sternum, and back.

  19. #19
    Breaker of Skulls Guido's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miguel Zambia
    A guy who wrote regular articles in Powerlifting USA -- I forget his name, Larry (Miller?) -- had some pretty good descriptions of how he & others used bench form. I'm pretty sure they always had feet flat on the ground, especially since that's how you have to do it in competition anyway. Larry described either himself or some Japanese lifter who had an awesome arch, but with the butt & shoulders still in contact with the bench. I find this is very hard to do -- when I arch, my butt automatically comes off. I think it either takes a snake-sinewy bodytype, or lots of practice, to perfect a legal powerlifting arch. However, it's obvious that if you can do it, you will technically lift more -- since the bar travels less distance from extension to upraised sternum, and back.
    First off, it IS legal to have just your toes on the floor. Don't know where you heard otherwise. In most federations the only stipulations is that once you bgin the lift, your feet can't move. Also, you should always have your butt and shoulders in contact with the bench. That's what creates a stable platform. You are much more prone to injury if you don't do that, and for competitions your lift will be disqualified if your butt comes off the bench. Like you said, it just takes some practice. Do static arches are use a ball to work on your spine flexibility. You are right aboiut the last point. The bigger the arch, the less distance you have to push the bar off your chest. It also helps to take a deep breath before you lower the weight and then breathe out once you start pushing the bar up.
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    Well, like the signature says, I'm noncompetitive. I thought feet flat was mandatory in competition. I normally stay flat when benching, but go to cheat arch when in trouble or just for grins. But 98% of the time, I bench flat. Like I said, I tried doing "competition arch" before, but just can't do it.

  21. #21
    Senior Member KevinStarke's Avatar
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    You have to get used to it. Once you learn all the techniques your bench will shoot up.

  22. #22
    I drink your milkshake twm's Avatar
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    I don't get how people get more stability/power when their ass leaves the bench.. I tried it with light weight to see what the hubbub was about and I felt REALLY unstable and at disadvantage.

    If you're doing incline.. I GUESS I could see you using your legs to drive your back and hence the bar closer to the rack, but that isn't really a bench press anymore - not to mention a terrible form in such a lift.

  23. #23
    SFW! drew's Avatar
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    If my butt leaves the bench, I instantly feel it in my back, not good. My arch is definitely not a problem, however I'm still trying to find the correct foot placement.

    Stats: Age: 34 Weight: 205 Height: 5'6"
    Gym PRs: Squat:635 Bench:560 Deadlift:495
    Meet PRs: Squat:575 Bench:525 Deadlift:510 Total: 1605@220

  24. #24
    Senior Member debussy's Avatar
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    The feet flat or on toes issue really varies depending on which federation you're lfiting in. Drew, try this... do your normal setup except keep your feet kind of close together... you get a lot more quad activation this way. I'll get some videos up later of me benching.

  25. #25
    Senior Member KevinStarke's Avatar
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    Your ass should never leave the bench, i've seen guys do it on the smith machine at the gym i go to all the time its ridiculous. When using leg drive squeeze the bench with your legs, this helps me alot.

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